Time is always a funny of thing, we always seem to be running out of it, making the most of it, wasting it or wishing it away. Very rarely are we left with a sense of ‘perfect time’ or a perfect amount of it. Time has always been an enigma, but 2020 seems to have played havoc with it in a way that I’ve never experienced before.
The thing that got me through the hardest moments of this year was holding onto this idea that we had been granted extra time as a family. Time we would never usually have had, with us all at home, Dan on furlough pay. I will forever feel so lucky and grateful that that was how a pandemic looked for us. We were in our little bubble, and while we of course had hard, stressful and emotional times, for the most part we were safe and happy.
But where 2020 giveth, boy does it taketh away as well! All the plans that we had, our adventures, our freedom. We had all this time but not much to do with it. The things we had planned, the dreams I had of squeezing in our first holiday abroad as a family before we became restricted by term times. The trips to London that Darcie was desperate to take. The closer to home stuff too – the farm, Paultons Park, even soft play was taken from us! As the beginning of school looms, mainly I feel robbed of time. The baby days are over for us, life revolves less and less around nappies and naps and we have two walking, talking children raring to see the world. They probably don’t realise they’re raring to see it, but I’m desperate to show them. I’ve never been good with restrictions, schedules and routine. I’ve always been on a countdown to school, I knew it was coming, I knew I had four years to make the most of this time. And yet, I’ve blinked and we’re here – Darcie starts school in less than a week. Our lazy, hazy, baby days are over. The real world is knocking at the door, it has hand sanitiser and a mask, and it looks completely different than I imagined it would for this next chapter.
This week before school begins feels like borrowed time. As the restrictions have lifted, and some of my anxieties about getting out and about have eased, suddenly I’m trying to cram in six months worth of fun. The pressure I’m putting on us all to have a good week is incredible, and while I might be the only one who can feel it, it’s there. Looming over me, creeping into all the slow moments, the quiet times – the need to be making memories before life changes beyond recognition. And the thing is, after six months of staying at home the kids are so happy here. It’s totally incredible how content they have become to just stay home, play, watch telly, potter into the garden. But I have this need to do more with this time with them both. They don’t realise it’s coming to an end, but I do. It punctuates everything we do and every thought I have. Life will be so different soon.
Writing this all down has helped more than I realised it would. I need to let this week be. Whatever it wants to be. Whatever we need it to be. We want to get out, to make those memories, but I also need to remember that memories can be made at home. Sometimes the slow, quiet moments at home are where we connect the most. Away from the distractions of life. Sitting reading a book with Ernie I realise he knows so many more words than I thought. Tidying up toys in the garden at the end of the day I found some chalk on the wall where Darcie had been practising letters, something she always feigns disinterest in. The two of them chasing each other, giggling, content in their own world. We’ve lived through lock-down so they’re used to not going to the farm, they don’t even ask for soft play, it’s these moments at home together that they will miss the most. We don’t need to fill every moment, plan a trip every day. Balance – that’s what we need.
And time – I will always wish for more of that.